As members statewide start pulling on their policy drawers (one leg at a time), Farm Gate figured it’d be a good time to introduce some of the folks serving your industry on MFB’s state-level policy development committee. That august group convenes in September and October to winnow through hundreds of policy recommendations from county Farm Bureaus statewide.
New to the state PD committee are Ingham County’s Jeanine Igl, representing District 5, and Sanilac’s John Bowsky, one of three Young Farmer representatives.
A fourth-generation farmer, John Bowsky works alongside his father Jan and two sisters, Jessica and Jennifer. First established in 1892, the centennial farm near Brown City today includes approximately 500 acres of red wheat and soybeans.
And when that crazy time of year rolls around, Bowsky also helps a number of his southern-Thumb neighbors haul sugar beets to the processing plant.
He does not, however, live by crops alone. As Sanilac County’s 4-H Livestock Chairman he helps raise hogs and prospect cattle for show, in addition to overseeing the county fair's swine project area.
“I got introduced to policy development on the county level a few years ago by Greg Alexander,” Bowsky says. “I always thought it was an interesting process, with all the different changes and issues agriculturists believe Michigan Farm Bureau should support.
“I heard there was going to be an open position to represent Young Farmers on the state Policy Development team this year and thought ‘Why not? Let’s go big or go home’—and be part of leading the organization that represents so many Michigan farmers.”
Jeanine Igl and her husband Tony both grew up on dairy farms. His family still milks cows in northern Wisconsin, but they’re raising their own brood in Ingham County—daughters Stephanie, Christina, Amanda and Samantha.
Jeanine and Tony are fourth-generation farmers, growing corn and soybeans alongside Jeanine’s parents, Sid and Carol Hawkins, on the farm started by her great-grandfather in 1862.
“I’m involved in policy development because we need to share our thoughts and concerns with our legislators because most of them are not aware of how farms operate,” Jeanine says. “With policy, we’re making sure our voices are being considered when bills are going through the legislature. We have to make sure we include all aspects of agriculture. That’s the best way to accomplish sound policies.”
Igl’s got her hands in a lot of pies outside policy, though. The ProFILE graduate is also Ingham County Farm Bureau’s current vice president and serves on the candidate evaluation committee. At the state level she sits on MFB’s Feed Grains, Oilseed and Wheat Advisory Committee and has attended both Lansing and Washington Legislative Seminars.
Outside Farm Bureau she serves the industry as a member of Ingham County’s Farmland and Open Space Preservation Board, Farm Service Agency’s county committee and the Michigan Corn Growers Association.
The remainder of this year’s state PD committee are as follows:
The other two Young Farmer program representatives are Nate Clarke (Midland County), and David Dreves (Northwest Michigan). Kellie Fox (Oceana County) represents Promotion & Education. At-large members are Craig Denny (Ionia County) and Tim Hood (Van Buren County). From the MFB Board of Directors are Andy Hagenow (Kent County), Mike DeRuiter (Oceana County) and Jeff Sandborn (Ionia County).
Farm Gate hopes to dish you the lowdown on those folks in upcoming issues.